Saturday, April 30, 2011

Decluttering the computer...

My husband surprised me with a brand-new computer! While it will be a huge upgrade from my current hand-cranked model, the thought of all the work involved in setting up a new work station made me put off the task.

My teen-aged boys didn't understand. "It's plug and play, Mom," they encouraged me. "Just plug it in and off you go!"

Not exactly. There was the matter of transferring all my pictures. That took almost an hour all by itself. I had to go through each person's files since my computer used to be the only one all four of us used (that should tell you how old it is!). I did delete a whole bunch of stuff that wasn't necessary. The new System 7 file transfer wanted to "help" by transferring every last thing on my hard drive, so I chose not to use that function. I may have added a little more time to my transfer, but I saved an enormous amount of time (and RAM) by not clogging my hard drive with all the junk from the old computer.

Outlook Express isn't supported on the new system and the Windows "Live Mail" couldn't understand my internet provider's info. I gave it some time, then called it a day and switched to gmail as my primary email. I was able to link it to Live Mail + I discovered Outlook for my calendar (since my Palm Pilot decided to give up the ghost at the same time as the old computer).

I'm planning to be more efficient next week. I'm getting there!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Starting Fresh!

I'm resurrecting my blog :o) For the past year and a half we've been in a crazy state with our family... hubby still mostly unemployed (thanks, economy), and me working outside the home for the first time. When my husband first got laid off, I figured we'd have a few months of pain, then pick up where we left off. A few months turned into a year, and by then the "fun" of getting by was wearing thin. I withdrew from blogging and other activities until I figured out just what, exactly, was going to be happening in our home.

I confess to initially resisting working outside the home. As a homeschooling mom, it seemed unlikely that I could do any kind of a good job anywhere when my loyalties were divided. I tried a six-week stint as a temp with a large medical firm (which I hated, but stuck out), and looked around for other opportunities. Selling the hairclips and doing boutiques and craft fairs turned out to be a problem for my lower back -- hauling the equipment and standing for hours at a time wreaked havoc on my spine.

It seemed logical to me to find something to do with children, since my own are my heart. I found a babysitting job with a friend's children in the early a.m., which I did all last year. This year I'm still working for them plus am also now a part-time kindergarten aide in a local school district. I love it! It's only 10 hours a week, but it's a foot in the door to the school district.

The jobs bring in some much-needed $$$ and I can be home in the afternoon for my own big boys, who still need me for homeschooling and mothering. Hubby has found two small part-time jobs that help out, too, plus he finally turned 62, enabling him to start collecting social security. That is HUGE for us. My jobs don't bring in enough cash to qualify as "full time", so I'm considered a dependent, which brings in a little more SS, as do our under-age boys. We can pay the mortgage, pay for groceries, keep up with bills... breathe more easily. There's still the hope that I can find a full-time job, but so far I've been unsuccessful.

Blogging about our issues while they were happening was impossible for me. I was unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel for a long time, then had to get in a whole new mind-set when I began working for the school. Now I think I've finally figured everything out!

Another aspect to my working life is that my decluttering business is starting to pick up. I've been a keynote speaker at a women's luncheon talking about organization, and have discovered some new clients along the way. That keeps me busy, too.

Future blogs will fall into various categories: decluttering/organization, gardening, food/recipes, and snippets of life. I'll try to group them in the appropriate folders so you can find things quickly. I'm still working on the amount of time I'd like to devote to the blog, but think that 2-3 times a week is about all you'd want to read of me :o)

I'm open to suggestions! Please comment and let me know what you'd like to read about. I'm going to be as open as I can about homeschooling, finances, and raising teens -- get ready for a wild ride!